Luck was not on my side.
During the first group of batting practice, I managed to catch a Jayson Nix home run on the fly in left field, but things fell apart after that. Just to give you one example (and then I’ll shut up about it), I was hugging the line for Andrew Jones deep behind the foul pole, and the seats all around me were virtually empty. Jones smoked a deep/foul line drive, and I bolted to my right, only to watch in horror as the ball ricocheted up into the 2nd deck. So yeah. It was like that.
By the time the Red Sox started throwing, the left field seats had gotten crowded . . .
. . . so I headed into foul territory and got a ball thrown to me by this guy:
He was much closer to me when he threw it, and I have no idea who it was. He wasn’t dressed like a player, and he seemed too young to be a coach. Maybe a bullpen catcher?
Anyway, I moved back into fair territory and got three more toss-ups in a span of 45 minutes. The first came from Mark Melancon, the second came from Junichi Tazawa (after I asked him for the ball in Japanese), and the third came from Aaron Cook.
Then, just as BP was ending and the players were starting to jog off the field, someone randomly flipped a ball deep into the crowd, and whaddaya know? It happened to come right to me. This was my 6th ball of the day, and I later gave it to a security guard to give to a kid.
The best thing about BP was the variety of baseballs that I snagged from the Red Sox . . .
. . . and by the way, the gentleman who’s making a funny face in the background is my friend Ben Weil. The only reason why he attended this game was to snag one of those Fenway Park commemorative balls, and I’m happy to report that he succeeded.
Shortly before game time, I went here . . .
. . . to try to get a ball from Yankees bullpen coach Mike Harkey. He always tosses balls into the crowd after the starting pitcher finishes warming up — or perhaps I should say *almost* always. This was the first time all year that he didn’t toss any.
During the game, I sat in straight-away right field and enjoyed watching this obnoxious Red Sox fan . . .
. . . get into it with the Bleacher Creatures:
Security didn’t intervene until the Sox fan nearly interfered with a potential Russell Martin home run in the bottom of the 2nd. I thought it was hilarious (and of course the Bleacher Creatures were incensed) that of all the people sitting in the outfield, the one dude who was decked out in Red Sox gear and acting like a complete ass had a Yankee ball hit right to him. While the umps reviewed the play, several guards escorted the fan from his seat and stood with him on the stairs. They *so* wanted to eject him, but had to wait and see if they could get away with it. The umps eventually ruled that it WAS a home run — no fan interference on the play — so the guy was allowed to return to his seat. Silly guards. All they had to do was accuse him of selling the ball, and that would’ve been the end of it.
Meanwhile, Martin’s home run was the third that the Yankees had hit THAT INNING — and they weren’t done! Six batters later, Mark Teixeira went deep, and the Yankees put up a nine-spot:
Even when I’m sitting in the outfield and trying to catch home runs, I don’t like seeing so many being hit. It’s bad baseball.
This was my view in the top of the 8th inning:
In case you can’t tell what was happening, three Japanese women were crouching at the bottom of the stairs and excitedly photographing Ichiro Suzuki, who had just moved from left to right field.
In the bottom of the 8th, with the Yankees clinging to a 9-2 lead, Melky Mesa got his first major league at-bat . . .
. . . and ripped an RBI single up the middle. Melky Mesa. Pinch hitting for Alex Rodriguez. No comment.
Final score: Yankees a lot, Red Sox a little.
• 619 balls in 77 games this season = 8.04 balls per game.
• 869 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 595 consecutive games in New York with at least one ball
• 186 consecutive Yankees home games with at least one ball
• 6,438 total balls
(I’m raising money again this season for Pitch In For Baseball, a non-profit charity that provides baseball equipment to underprivileged kids all over the world. Click here to learn more about my fundraiser, and click here to see the prizes that I’ll be giving away to donors.)
• 45 donors
• $2.72 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $16.32 raised at this game
• $1,683.68 raised this season
• $20,840.68 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009
Finally, of the five balls that I kept, one has a double-invisible ink stamp. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of it in regular light versus black light:
Do you see both stamps? The main one says “28” followed by another digit that has been partially rubbed off. The bonus stamp is much smaller and fainter and appears on the upper right. What does it say — “007”? Is this a James Bond ball? Is this Eon Productions‘ subtle way of promoting “Skyfall“? I really like James Bond, but I really hate movie theaters, so I’ll wait for it to come out on VHS.